Satoshi Nakamoto set in motion the unraveling of the nation state and the end of central banking … two closely related institutions that have directed history since history has been recorded. The creator of bitcoin is one of the greatest disruptors in modern history, and this is reason enough not to want an identity attached to the source code.

So who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Information on their identity remains unknown. Bitcoin has since evolved without their input, put forth for anyone willing to experiment with the technology. Satoshi’s last call was to deemphasize his unknown identity.

When Satoshi had the basic foundation of the bitcoin client built, he transitioned the responsibilities to a group of early enthusiasts and withdrew back into the shadowy depths of anonymity. Nothing tangible has been heard since, although they’re widely regarded to still be alive and keeping a pulse on bitcoin developments.

Satoshi Claims

Satoshi claimed to reside in Japan, although searches and inquiries into his true identity turn up few results. Facts that were uncovered seem to be contradictory and purposefully led followers on a false trail. In his early days working on the project, Satoshi was known for a business-like demeanor and very seldom revealed details about himself, instead dedicating himself feverishly to the bitcoin project.

If the work of the bitcoin client was produced by one man, and began in 2007 as Satoshi claimed, then it must have required serious commitment for several months before releasing it. At one point, when early adopters aimed at increasing its popularity, after users began lobbying for WikiLeaks to accepting bitcoin donations, Nakamoto intervened. Giving decisive orders to the team, he wrote: “No, don’t bring it on. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.” Then, as mysteriously as he had appeared, Satoshi Nakamoto vanished.

As it still remains today, the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown and the alias is considered a pseudonym. Whoever the creator was, they wanted to remain invisible, and thus far they have achieved such.

Some researchers proposed that the name was derived from a combination of tech companies consisting of Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola, solidifying the notion that the name was a pseudonym and leading many to question if he actually was from Japan, given the paper had a distinctly English dialect to it. British formatting in his written work implies Nakamoto is of British origin. However, he also uses American spelling, which may indicate he was intentionally trying, somewhat successfully, to mask his writing style — or that he is more than one person. Many in the bitcoin space also believe Satoshi to be of American nationality, asserting that the time frames for code submission coincided neatly with someone living in an EST time zone.

Easter Eggs

Satoshi listed his date of birth as April 5th, 1975, and at first glance this appears to be insignificant. However, upon further analysis we find that On April 5th, 1933 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed two executive orders: 6101 of Civilian Conservation Corps, and 6102 which forbade the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates by U.S. citizens. We then find that in the year 1975 gold ownership was relegalized for citizens of the US.

The birth dates coupled with the insertion of a link buried within the genesis block to a London Times article entitled ‘Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks’, make it clear Satoshi Nakamoto was politically motivated and displayed such through easter eggs hidden within their work.

Technical Analysis

As for the code itself, it has been dubbed multi-disciplinary and of extremely high expertise in the area of cryptography and C++ programming language, causing many to believe Satoshi Nakamoto is a small group of computer programmers rather than a single individual. Nakamoto claimed to have begun work on the bitcoin project in 2007 and published his paper in the following year. In 2008 he first released his work through a cryptography mailing list, where one of his first partners in development was cryptography expert Hal Finney. Based on analysis from other programmers who worked on the source code, it does not appear to be written by someone who is well versed in professional programming but rather has a strong academic or theoretical knowledge of cryptography.

He was the oracle to which we would go for questions about the system, but he rarely followed standard engineering practices, like writing unit or stress tests or any of the standard qualitative analysis that we’d perform on software. Several things had to be disabled almost immediately upon public release of Bitcoin because they were obviously exploitable.

– Jeff Garzik, early bitcoin developer

Linguistic Analysis

Adam Penenberg of FastCompany came to the conclusion that Satoshi Nakamoto may in fact be a trifecta of programmers, arguing through linguistic analysis that phrases from the whitepaper match in very unique sense to a patent application for updating and distributing hashing functions, which was filed around a remarkably similar time frame as the bitcoin.org domain name was registered. The domain was listed as being registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had travelled there months before the domain was registered (Penenberg, 2011). Regardless, all three programmers deny the claim to the Nakamoto throne. In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on August 18 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland in May 2011, which weakens the Finland theory (CoinDesk, 2013).

I exchanged some emails with whoever Satoshi supposedly is. I always got the impression it almost wasn’t a real person. I’d get replies maybe every two weeks, as if someone would check it once in a while. Bitcoin seems awfully well designed for one person to crank out.

– Laszlo Hanyecz, early bitcoin developer

Blockchain Analysis

Based on a blockchain analysis technique created by Sergio Lerner, an authority on bitcoin and cryptography, a dominant entity believed to be Satoshi has been mining the network since block 1, with identical performance as the genesis block. Lerner claims this miner is “the only entity that has shown complete trust in bitcoin, since it has not spent any coins,” estimating that Satoshi holds around 1 million BTC (Lerner, 2013).

NewsWeek Claims

Most recently in March 2014, Satoshi Nakamoto reemerged from the shadows of anonymity to clear his suspected identity to a man living in California. After NewsWeek sources claimed to have found the real Nakamoto, and in doing so displayed an astounding disregard for journalism ethics and privacy, Satoshi Nakamoto posted to the P2P foundation “I am not Dorian Nakamoto”. Donations to this Californian man ensued, still quite unsure what all the commotion was about. Dorian Nakamoto is almost certainly not the inventor of bitcoin.

Many in the early community wondered why Satoshi had forsaken them in a project he poured his energy into for so long. Perhaps it was the fact bitcoin was starting to gain traction, evolving without his direct counsel, and the decision to hand the reins of power over was necessary. However, the question still lingers, have we seen the last of him?

Author

Travis Patron

Travis Patron is the author of The Bitcoin Revolution: An Internet of Money, a seminal publication in the digital money space which outlines the basics of the bitcoin payment system. As a public speaking authority, he regularly speaks to audiences on the economics & industry trends of bitcoin.

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  • Reply

    Sid Greenfield

    30 11 2014

    Hey, Travis … Very nice piece of analytical investigation … couldn’t have done a better job myself.

    My money is on a group within the Chinese intelligence community. They tend to think and plan about thirty to forty years in the future and are, at the moment, slurping up every Bitcoin they can get their hands on … ( See Fiatleak.com) … and It was the Chinese that effectively bailed out the BTC markets when the DHS dumped the Silk Road bitcoins on the market … by buying virtually ALL of them. At this moment, the Chinese OWN just about 78.174 Percent of the entire Bitcoin Market Cap.

    Without putting too fine a point on things;

    In any attempt to “take over the world” it helps to destroy the financial systems of the nations you intend to conquer or go to war with. In any “New World Order”, assuming the successful destruction of existing world currencies, one would ideally require a “New World Currency” waiting in the wings, so to speak.

    If one could use the emergence of such a currency as both the tool with which to cripple those nations, as well as the store of value with which to back it’s OWN fiat currency, one would have something that looks very much like Bitcoin. If one were VERY sneaky, one might also underwrite the debts of the target nations and then at an opportune moment, destroy their financial systems. In such a case, war might be avoided altogether. Bitcoins and Altcoins can accomplish both ends quite nicely.

    It’s become apparent that the flood of altcoin mining is the main force holding the value of BTC below $1000. The constant turn-n-burn mining and conversion to BTC is increasing the BTC Market Cap very rapidly but depleting the altcoin market cap (as it applies to the market value of any individual coin). Altcoins can therefore Never overtake Bitcoins … even with mining consolidation. It must then follow that Every altcoin (including Litecoin) will eventually die regardless of all other factors.

    THAT can only mean that IF the altcoin markets were suddenly to disappear or be “switched off”… the value of BTC would rise exponentially into its own market cap in just three or four days.

    If I were the guy doing the “rigging”, I would let the altcoins thrive (pumping up the BTC Market Cap) until 80 or 90% of all the BTC’s have been mined or become impossible to mine … then kill the altcoin markets by shutting down ALL the altcoin mining Pools at the same moment … OR more likely, by acquiring or conniving with the Big-Ten Exchanges to stop altcoin trading and conversion to BTC … all at once and on a particular date.

    Anyone holding Altcoins ( or Dollars, or Yen, or Euros ) … will take it in the throat, but anyone holding any reasonable number of Bitcoins will be worth boatloads of Buying Power … Barons of The New World Order. Everybody knows that you can’t have a New World Order without a New World Currency.

    Over the same 3 or 4 day period, ALL fiat currencies (except for the Chinese Yuan) will collapse and BTC will instantaneously become the Global Reserve Currency. The Chinese are mining and buying every single BTC they can get their hands on … Hmmmmm .

    IF the NSA or elements of OUR OWN Intelligence Community had a hand in such a thing, it could only mean that they were working with or for or in the interests of the Chinese. THAT can hardly be the case because it would necessarily lead to the subjugation of our Republic and we would by now have seen a LOT of additional evidence of it.

    If the NSA or DHS WERE involved in that kind of Treason, Various agencies of the US Government would already be attempting to to disarm the population by heavily restricting imports of weapons and ammunition … or perhaps by actually buying ALL of the ammunition produced in the Western Hemisphere for a period of years. Sweeping powers would have been transferred to agencies like FEMA, DOT, DOE and all the others, seemingly placing them “outside” the control of the executive branch of Government.

    Indeed, if the Military-Industrial-Political Complex were engaged in the intended imminent subjugation of the Republic, we would certainly have seen by now, a veritable host of “oddities” not commonly found in a healthy Democratic Republic.

    Among these would be pretty obvious attempts to rewrite history, to negate the force and effect of The Constitution, to dumb down the population by taking over the schools, to marginalize religion, ethics and morality, to characterize those who support the absolute morality of the founding fathers as “Terrorists” … all kinds of really unlikely things.

    My God man, the Government itself would be attempting to rig the next elections by giving free stuff to selected groups of voters and free entry to illegal aliens to gain an entirely illegal voting block. It would certainly be directing all of those pesky alphabet agencies to spy on it’s own citizens, corrupt the press, militarize the police and ALL those kinds of terrible things that happen ALL THE TIME in other nations, but (Thank God) things that could NEVER happen here. Of Course, It’s absolutely ridiculous to think such things and we certainly haven’t seen anything like I have just described, now have we?

    Why, if the NSA and our huge intelligence Megaplex WERE involved in such a dangerous and potentially Lethal endeavor, they would almost certainly have shoe-horned an equally dangerous progressive sociopath into the White House by now … so they could get Him to do the dirty work and pin the blame on him when they throw the switch. Pretty ridiculous thought huh?

  • Reply

    Tering Nering

    29 12 2014

    “The creator of bitcoin is one of the greatest disruptors in modern history, and this is reason enough not to want an identity attached to the source code.”

    I think this is avery thin argument. The author confuses ‘interesting’ with ‘important’. The identity of the creator(s) of Bitcoin can only be important if we DO something with that knowledge, if some institute ACTS on it.
    Let’s say we know who is behind S. Nakamoto.
    – we could imprison him/her/them (for a not existing crime?)
    – he could be harassed, out of revenge, just because
    – he could be interviewed, to know the why (“when did you have the Aha moment?”), invite him to talks shows
    – we could study the source code, now with the knowledge of the identity of the programmer (makes no difference)
    – …

    Well, maybe someone knows a real useful ACTION , but I claim it is not important to know the identity of SN.
    The course Bitcoin will take will not differ if we know the identity or not. He cannot control or influence it now any more than any other individual. Bitcoin is now a community/society thing with a complete own dynamic.
    Speculating as to the identity behind S. Nakamoto is a very interesting pastime, but not important.

    • Reply

      Travis Patron

      29 12 2014

      The reason Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity is important is not because of what we could get from them or how we could expose them. That is of no interest. The reason Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity is important is because they own 9% of the bitcoin economy, something that has huge implications for every individual involved with bitcoin. Bitcoin’s development is largely out of Satoshi Nakamoto’s hands as you said, but that 9% of bitcoin they own can still dramatically influence how bitcoin progresses and how it is used. This is why it is important, above all, to understand Satoshi’s motivation for creating bitcoin in the first place.

      • Reply

        Tering Nering

        30 12 2014

        With that argument I can indeed agree. The enormous value of their stock can shock the price stability (in so far we have a bitcoin price stability ;-) . As the early bitcoins are identified on the blockchain, moving them to an exchange for selling could mean the identity to be exposed, no?
        I hope all or most of the early bitcoins are some day sent to unspendable addresses, that would bring more comfort to to (potential) bitcoin investors.

        • Reply

          Travis Patron

          31 12 2014

          I am no expert on blockchain analysis or data mining, but as far as I know Satoshi moving stash would increase the ability to identify them. This is because you could look at the level of entropy used to generate the address or the IP address it was created from.

          I do not think Satoshi will ever exchange their bitcoin for a national currency, as doing so would be jumping back into an economy they made obsolete (or soon to be). Other than creating something else as important as bitcoin, the best thing Satoshi could do with their money is to send them to unspendable addresses.

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